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“Sarong” (Chinese Tree Peony Leaf, Winter) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/6.3, 1/125s, -1.0EV, ISO 640

This single Chinese Tree Peony leaf intrigued me for days. Something about that gentle curved edge diving into a spiral finish just seemed so lovely. I had to do it justice.

On the first attempt, the light wasn’t right. 

On the second attempt, the white background (snow) was competing with the leaf’s light tones. 

On the third attempt, I shot in black & white and then, used a black background. Dialing down the exposure highlighted the edges, which is exactly what I was looking for. 

Justice is served. 🙂



  1. The simplicity of the subject and your tenacity to get it in just the right light have paid off.
    Wonderful photograph.
    I just wish there was more room from the tip to the top edge of the picture.

    • Thanks! And, I actually agree with you as it does seem a bit squished (and, the watermark doesn’t help). Luckily, since the background is dark, I can add more and crop accordingly. I have updated the image and I like it better. Thanks for the constructive crit – I appreciate it! 🙂 Sometimes we just need a little nudge to confirm our gut instincts!

  2. Outstanding effort, Milkayphoto …..

    • Just found your comment in my spam filter – go figure! In any event, thanks! 🙂

  3. Just brilliant. You’d never know it was manipulated. You are the master of special effects, Tracy. Well done.

    • Thanks Dave! Since it was only the background, I can live with myself. I need to learn to leave a bit more room! I get so caught up in the macro part that I sometimes forget overall composition! Good thing in this capture, there was a fix. Sometimes, I am not so lucky!

  4. Beautiful

  5. You’re amazing, Tracy. I learn a lot by reading your techniques. I still have a loooong way to go, though…

    This shot is just beautiful! Kinda reminds me of this one.


    • Thanks, Juan. It really is the stubborness in me, I guess. I wasn’t going to let the leaf win! 🙂

  6. Brilliant! I haven’t attempted a subtle still life like this yet. It came out beautifully.

    I know you mentioned you were interested in participating on my blog’s photo assignments. Just happens I posted the first one for 2010 today. Hope you will join in the fun!

    Oh, and anyone else can to! 🙂

    • Thanks much, Scott. I do much better with close-ups than with landscapes (I think).

      Yes, I read your photo assignments and I am intrigued. I hope to make a submission! 🙂

  7. This is gorgeous. It has a very sensual feel to it. I love it! So beautifully captured!

    • Thanks Amber! Hmmm, sensual, yes….I like that! Who knew a leaf could be sexy? 🙂

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